Survivor Portrait Gallery

Meredith Israel

Survivor Portrait Gallery -

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Meredith Israel with her daughter, Niomi.
© 2010 Mark Jason Photography

New York, NY
Age 36
Breast cancer survivor since June 26, 2009

What does being a Survivor mean to you?

I didn’t know I was a survivor until I met another breast cancer patient last August (2009). It was a week before my first Komen walk, and I was very nervous to be participating. She asked me if I picked up my survivor shirt, and I looked at her very bewildered. I said, “I’m not a survivor yet. I haven’t beat it”’ She turned and said, “Honey, we are survivors. We are still here.” I still hold onto those words every day. I am still here! I am a survivor!

How has being a Survivor affected your life?
Everything about my life has been turned upside down since June 26, 2009. Starting with a misdiagnosis, I went from stage 2 to stage 4 with the cancer spreading throughout my body in six short months. I could have been curled up in a ball, but, instead, something else happened. An inner strength I didn’t know existed came out. I was 35 years old with a 20-month-old baby girl. All I said to myself was, “I can’t quit, I can’t give up and I need to kick its ass!”

That been my mantra since that day and as one year approaches, it is still my mantra. I miss working, but instead I use all my energy for my daughter, my partner Gary and my family. Yes, I have cancer and some days it knocks me out, but I always find a way to turn it around and live my life. It’s not easy living with this disease, going bald, feeling exhausted all the time and going for chemo on a weekly basis, but as long as I am here, I will live my life to the fullest.

My daughter needs her mommy, and she deserves the best mommy. Every morning I wake up, and I smile. I may be tired, but the minute I hear her shout the words “mommy” from her room, it’s another day that I am in the fight; another day I get with her and my family to create more happy memories.

The cancer may win in the end, but it’s not going to take me down without a fight. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and more. Breast cancer survivor comes last. You live life to the fullest and take advantage of every moment!

How would you like to be photographed?
I would like to be photographed with my daughter Niomi or with Gary and Niomi. Niomi is my focus and the reason I refuse to give up. She’s my world, and she makes my heart pitter patter every day. I don’t want to do it alone as I find that lonely, but with Niomi, it shows that a young mom with stage 4 cancer can live life even during the hard days.

Credit:
Location courtesy of FAO Schwartz

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